Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Win more comfortable than the score
By Stephen Webb

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 19
7.45 pm, Saturday 11 February, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 2
(Brett Emerton 54', Bruno Cazarine 73')
Perth Glory FC 1
(Billy Mehmet 86')

(Photo by Stephen Webb for BOTN)

Sydney ended Perth Glory's run of unbeaten games on the weekend and in the process put a stop to its own recent string of poor performances.

Marquee players Nick Carle and Brett Emerton led Sydney to a win more comfortable than the score line indicates.

Perth missed the two best chances of the first half and crumpled in the second, when Sydney delighted the home fans and showed signs that perhaps they do deserve to be finals contenders.

On the way from the bar before the game I almost spilled beer on the shiny black shoes of a be-suited Terry McFlynn, suspended for accumulating an admirable collection of yellow cards, a suspension which fans around me weren’t regretting since they think Terry’s passing has gone down the toilet and there have been too many free kicks conceded in dangerous areas; but then I was regretting not wearing my Terry McFlynn shirt because I reckon Terry’s still okay, even if his passing game has gone down the toilet.

McFlynn’s replacement as skipper was Emerton, someone who needed in this game to show he was prepared to play for the team (and the fans’ expectations) and not just his personal percentages.

McFlynn’s defensive midfield job was taken by Karol Kisel while the other new spot in the starting line up (exeunt stage left the injured Mark Bridge) was Joel Chianese, who the previous week came on in the second half and made two good breaks and two clumsy mistakes.

Liam Reddy, having seen a few goals go by him (not all his fault by any means), made way for Ivan Necevski. Ryan Grant held on to the right back spot even though his side of the pitch was the gateway for Newcastle in the last home game.

The Chinese guys next to me again feigned shock at my pessimism. Perth looked good on paper and they were on a roll. And Sydney last week ... well ...

This week Sydney pressed hard from the beginning, conceding several free kicks. Action was fast and furious from both sides.

Carle nutmegged Jacob Burns but didn’t keep possession.

In the ninth minute Chianese was fast running at the Perth defence, while his cross to Bruno Cazarine was intercepted by Joshua Risdon.

Shane Smeltz had a chance for Perth and Hiro Moriyasu for Sydney was beating Burns, Steve Pantelidis and Mile Sterjovski down the right when he was fouled.

Rhyan Grant played Carle into the Perth penalty area and Carle made a hard turn to deliver a soft shot.

Necevski got down well at the feet of Dean Heffernan and Burns got his yellow for another foul on Moriyasu.

Chianese linked well in Sydney’s attack and Emerton got into the left of Perth’s penalty area and from a tight angle hit an untroubling shot. That Emerton was getting involved in a more aggressive game for Sydney could only be a good thing.

Kisel fouled Travis Dodd and Liam Miller’s free kick from 25 metres went straight to Necevski.

Moriyasu looked for Chianese down the right and Chianese struggled well before losing out in the right corner.

Michael Beauchamp was good against Smeltz but in the 23rd minute Necevski had to make a great save to deny Dodd at the right post shortly after saving a header from Smeltz on the end of a beautifully chipped ball from the top of the box.

Sterjovski came close to delivering a perfect ball for Smeltz, offside.

Chianese seemed about to launch into a dangerous run but Seb Van Den Brink just got to him.

Kisel was doing his best McFlynn impersonation: lots of energy, good defensive work, fouls galore and wayward passing.

Emerton was still leading by example, commitment personified. Cazarine and Carle almost put Chianese through on goal but Chianese had the ball robbed off his toes.

Kisel fouled Heffernan and claimed he was kicked in the hip during the collision. Then Kisel got a yellow card for rugby tackling Sterjovski in an attempt to limit the damage of a hospital pass from Beauchamp.

Van Den Brink cleared a cross heading for Chianese, following a lovely ball from Carle after Steven McGarry gave away possession.

Fans behind me were happy that is was nearly half time and Sydney weren’t losing.

Yet in the 43rd minute McGarry was very close to getting on the end of another sweet chip from the edge of the penalty area. Beauchamp cleared over the goal line, dangerously close to the right post.

In the minute of extra time Sydney fans were begging for the whistle as Perth failed to bury chances in the Sydney penalty area.

I got back from the beer queue and half time conversation with a rival coach (who kindly bought me a beverage) to see Kisel cross from the left to Emerton on the right. Emerton was all class controlling the ball and clinically finishing.

Sydney were in the lead.

“You are lucky man!” said my Chinese friends, noting how I had timed my return.

“Finally, a decent cross,” said someone behind me.

In the 59th minute, Carle, on the edge of the Perth penalty area, again failed to get onto a shot and scuffed the ball to Daniel Vukovic.

Beauchamp played a one-two out of Sydney’s penalty area and Carle played a lovely ball for Beauchamp up the right sideline but Beauchamp’s ball into the Perth box was poor.

Billy Mehmet came on for Sterjovski in the 65th minute ... introducing an element of doubt for Sydney fans. But Sydney still looked sharp.

And among the sharpest was Emerton. He hit a great ball from the right to Kisel on the left of the Perth box. Kisel’s poor shot came back for Chianese, who equalled Kisel’s failure.

Emerton hit a bit of a dud cross from the left but it wasn’t cleared and fell again for Chianese, who didn’t get onto his shot with any weight and another great chance was missed.

In the 68th minute Kisel came off for Shannon Cole. Moriyasu dropped to holding midfield and Cole proceeded to link superbly with Scott Jamieson.

“We need another goal. For my nerves.”

And it arrived.

Cole whacked over a late cross from the goal line. It seemed far too long but Emerton put the ball back into the box with a beautiful chip that was met with a powerful header from Cazarine.

Sydney were two in front. Sydney fans were pinching themselves.

“You know the difference?” said my Chinese ex-friends. “No McFlynn.”

Of course I couldn’t agree. The difference was that Emerton was playing like a dream. And as I was writing that Emerton chased back to help Grant shut down Andrezinho.

Liam Miller hit a gentle shot wide of the left post. And Chianese was replaced by another wonder kid, Mitchell Mallia. Chianese got some good applause but people around me were glad to see Mallia on instead.

Carle, nearly always Sydney’s outstanding player, was by no means overshadowed by Emerton. In attack he put a great ball in for Cazarine and was almost instantly at the other end defending against Smeltz.

Mitchell Mallia got into the left of the Perth penalty area and hit a shot from a fine angle that Vukovic had to save diving to his left.

Emerton then hit a fabulous ball to Jamieson on the left edge of Perth’s penalty area. Jamieson cut back and hit a half-decent shot to Vukovic.

Sydney looked like something. Like the real deal. Perth had no answers. And no sooner had I written those jinxing words than a long ball from Heffernan dropped for Mehmet who headed over a stranded Necevski. Sure, this was against the run of play (and probably offside) but questions would have been asked about the indecision between the centre backs and between the centre backs and the goalkeeper.

Soon after the restart Necevski came off his line to take a long ball.

“That’s what you should have done before!”

Perth were looking ragged, tired and sloppy. Heffernan gave away an easy corner. Sydney used it to chew up time. Perth attempted to get the ball up the park but another careless pass put the ball out of play and took the pressure off the home team.

Many stood to applaud Carle when he was replaced by Nathan Sherlock. And there was much joy all round when the final whistle blew, just as at the end of the first half, with Perth probing in vain around the Sydney penalty area.

The reaction to the win was as though Sydney had won a finals match.

Some Perth fans, who reckoned coach Ian Ferguson needed to mix things up a bit in future, nominated Van Den Brink as their best player.

Some Sydney fans near me thought, “Carle is man of the match. Carle and Emerton.”

I’d tip the scales slightly in favour of Emerton, finally out of his cocoon.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 19
7.45 pm, Saturday 11 February, 2012
at Sydney Football Stadium

Sydney FC 2
(Brett Emerton 54', Bruno Cazarine 73')
Perth Glory FC 1
(Billy Mehmet 86')

    Crowd: 8,508


    Sydney FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Ivan Necevski (gk), 4. Pascal Bosschaart, 5. Michael Beauchamp, 6. Hirofumi Moriyasu, 7. Brett Emerton, 8. Karol Kisel (12. Shannon Cole +68'), 9. Bruno Cazarine, 10. Nick Carle (22. Nathan Sherlock +93'), 16. Joel Chianese (24. Mitchell Mallia +80'), 21. Scott Jamieson, 23. Rhyan Grant

    Substitutes not used: 1. Liam Reddy (rgk)

    Coach: Vitislav Laviska

    Yellow Cards: Karol Kisel 40'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Danny Vukovic (gk), 3. Bas van den Brink, 5. Steve Pantelidis, 7. Jacob Burns, 9. Shane Smeltz, 10. Liam Miller, 13. Travis Dodd (27. Andrezinho +73'), 14. Steven McGarry, 19. Josh Risdon, 21. Mile Sterjovski (4. Billy Mehmet +64'), 35. Dean Heffernan.

    Substitutes not used: 20. Neil Young (rgk), 8. Adam Hughes


    Yellow Cards: Jacob Burns 14'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Srebre Delovski tba/10
    Assistants: Allyson Flynn, Lance Greenshields; 4th Official: Kris Griffiths Jones

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Brett Emerton (Sydney FC)
    2. Nick Carle (Sydney FC)
    1. Seb van den Brink (Perth Glory FC)

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report, photos and ratings: Stephen Webb

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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